By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A COMPANY with a licence to harvest timber in The Bahamas is set to ‘kick-start’ a small scale operation in Abaco at the end of the month, its principal telling Tribune Business that the company was looking to produce 20,000 feet of lumber before launching into large scale production.
Rob Roman, the principal of Lindar Industries Limited, told Tribune Business that the company which had been faced with several setbacks, was now looking to kick-start its timbering harvesting program on a small scale initially, noting that the company had been forced to make $200,000-$250,000 in repairs to its equipment which had been damaged by vandals. As a result, the company which took hold of a lease for 6,746 acres of pine forest on Abaco Crown Land from the Ministry of The Environment back in 2011, lost a year of production. Lindar Industries had been granted a five-year renewable timber-harvesting licence.
“We are sort of doing a mini-programme right now during which we will probably be cutting 20,000 board feet of lumber just to get kick started again, to make sure everything is working properly and get some inventory on hand. That is the programme we are planning to do right now. Once that is complete then we will go into further production but we just want to make sure everything is working properly, we have to get our drying systems back up and working properly. This is about getting everything back up and making sure they are working properly. This is not going to be a large production or large crew this first time around because what we’re doing is redoing what we did before when we did our trials and got our methodology down. We have to do that again because it’s been a year since we did it,” Mr Roman said.
Mr Roman added: “We’ll probably have four or five people on staff at the beginning. We basically have all the logs cut right now but we have to transport them out of the forest to the mill site, then we will cut those up into lumber. After that we will go into the curing process which takes about three weeks every time we load up the kiln building. We have just one kiln building at the moment. At the end of 2011 the hurricane also knocked down our kiln building. After we the curing process we have to take them out, clean them, cut them to size, put the next load in and repeat the process.”
The programme which is expected to start at the end of August will run through the month of September.
“Once we’re finished at the end of September, if everything is satisfactory then we will start harvesting again. It’s actually probably between to harvest later on in the year because its not so hot and so wet. Our intention is to produce about 20,000 feet of rough cut lumber and then we will be taking that and finishing it into flooring wall panelling, moulding trims and those sort of things. Once we are confident that everything is working properly then we can move into larger volumes. We don’t just want to have a bunch of logs sitting around going to waste and that’s why we are starting out small,” said Mr Roman. Mr Roman said that the company intends to market its finished products both internationally and locally.
Christoper Russell, Director of Forestry at the Ministry of Environment and Housing, said the ministry has partnered with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to launch a pilot forestry programme to train Bahamians in government agencies, along with the park wardens of the National Trust, in basic forestry management precepts and concepts. Mr Russell said: “As part of that training we have set up a pilot logging programme. The pilot programme will assist us with the training of Bahamians and how this process works which will also allow then to monitor and provide any oversight to any industry that is developed in the sector. Lindar is a separate component of that whole exercise but is a licensed entity set up to actually extract timber in a sustainable way.”
Mr Russell added: “We are in also in partnership with the National Trust and part of our training focus is to train park wardens who are stationed on the family islands to serve as our officers there to help us monitor any such activities. The Trust has an office in Abaco where we are based out of which is providing monitoring of that project.” Extensive pine forests also exist on the islands of Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence. The Ministry of Environment & Housing is making a planned move towards sustainable management and economic development of the nation’s forests. The Government has passed forestry legislation (Forestry Act 2010). The industry had been exploited in the past due to a lack of laws regulating the logging activity.